Business owners who are considering online marketing should integrate an active social media campaign into their marketing plan. Social media can enhance the benefits of a reliable online marketing plan and help build brand awareness. Also, a great social media campaign can help a business develop a solid email list of customers and potential customers. When used properly, these lists can be utilized with email marketing software for more significant customer interaction.
Encourages Thinking Outside the Box
Too often, people think about social media, and the only thing that comes to mind is Twitter or Facebook. There is so much more to social media than these two sites. Other social sites that can help a business include:
- Pinterest – This platform is ideal for companies who have a physical product to promote as they offer "pinboards" where images with links can be posted
- Instagram – Visual and/or experiential brands can have great success using this popular social media platform
There are other social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, where you can collect information. You can also secure subscribers for your newsletter or blog, and develop an email list for mass email promotions.
Makes Information Sharing Easier
Whether a business shares news from their blog or shares exclusive deals via social media sites, information sharing is far more straightforward than in days past. Rather than depending on bulk mailing postcards, newsletters, or other communications, businesses can now use software to target their audience.
Easier to Communicate Urgency
Let's say a company wants to run a "special deal," such as buy one or get one or have a discount offered for a limited time. It is easier to announce it through social media than to deal with waiting for print advertising to reach their customer base. This also allows a company to decide on a last-minute deal without worrying about not reaching their base. A mass email to their mailing list means instant notifications.
An innovative, way of supporting local business and getting some significant deals on virtually everything out in the open is a daily deal. Companies like Groupon and Living Social are sending out emails to consumers who sign up to get discounts on everything from spa days to pizza, from movie tickets to beach vacations. These options provide "Now" deals that end within the same day, whereas featured deals give buyers a few days to make their purchase.
Easier to Provide Customer Service
Social media has had a serious impact on customer service. Both positive and negative sides to this must be considered when launching a social media campaign. Customers who post a complaint on social media that winds up unanswered can hurt the credibility of a business. The good news is that positive feedback can spread just as quickly.
Some companies, however, are not so savvy about responding to customer needs via social media. Brandwatch analyzed 40 leading companies' online presence and found that some popular brands didn't fare so well in their social media responses. Retail company John Lewis got top marks for quick answers via Twitter and Facebook to complaints. Companies with a highly integrated social media presence are continuing to grow a real following as they evolve with how consumers connect.
Encourages Humanization of Business
Are you wondering how humanizing a business helps with marketing? Stop and think about how people do business. Many companies still operate on a "face-to-face" basis. While there is little doubt that the Internet has depersonalized some interaction, social media may help encourage more one-on-one conversations.
Whether your company decides to engage your customers and potential customers via Facebook or Twitter or you elect for electronic newsletters delivered by mass email. The chances are that you will find that your overall online marketing campaign will be stronger for these efforts. Which approaches has your company taken towards more social media interaction?